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MEDICAL CLEARANCES


ANNUAL CLEARANCE:

According to the National Collegiate Athletics Association and The University of Houston, no University of Houston student-athlete is allowed to participate in any organized and/or scheduled practice without a physical examination through our Sports Medicine Department. The University will not recognize any physical completed by an outside physician. All student-athletes must have a physical done by one of our Team Physicians before any participation is permitted. It is the responsibility of the coaches to notify the Sports Medicine Department of any student-athlete in need of a physical exam. There are no exceptions to this decision. The Head Athletic Trainer, the Head Team Physician, and the Director of Athletics in the University of Houston Department of Intercollegiate Athletics will handle any violations.

No physical exam will be performed without prior clearance from the National Collegiate Athletics Association compliance coordinator at the University of Houston.

Initial Physical Exams:

Initial physical examinations will be given to all incoming athletes. The purpose of the initial physical exam is to obtain a complete analysis and history of the student-athlete before he/she begins practice and competition for the university. The initial physical exam includes an extensive history, blood work (Sickle cell testing), resting EKG, and consultation with the team physicians. If required, the team physician will prescribe any X-rays or other diagnostic tests. This exam will prove beneficial to both the University and the individual by detecting any possible complications before a major situation develops. If, for any medical reason, the incoming student-athlete is not cleared for athletic participation, the condition is considered "pre-existing." According to the NCAA, all "pre-existing" health-related issues are the financial responsibility of the student-athlete. The Head Team Physician will have the final say on student-athlete medical clearance and participation. Under no circumstances may a student-athlete seek medical clearance from another physician.

Re-examination Physical Exams:

After the first year our student-athletes will be given a re-examination medical history physical exam. This is to update medical and orthopedic history taken from the initial physical exam and repeated annually. Further testing may be performed at the request of the team physicians and athletic trainers. The Head Team Physician will have the final say on student-athlete participation.

Recruiting Physical Exams:

It is suggested that a team physician evaluate each recruit for the University of Houston, Department of Athletics. This is done to screen any possible problems or complications for both the benefits of the potential student-athlete and the University. During the physical exam, the potential student-athlete will have their height, weight, and medical history taken. Our team physicians in the areas of internal and orthopedic medicine will also evaluate the student-athlete. Again, both parties will benefit from the information collected.

Try Out Procedures:

Any student trying out for an intercollegiate sports team at the University of Houston must have the following:

In order to tryout for team participation you MUST bring the following completed information on the FIRST DAY of tryouts.

  1. You MUST bring a COMPLETED Tryout Initiation Form from the compliance office.
  2. You MUST bring a copy of your Insurance Card. You MUST be covered by the insurance.
  3. You MUST bring a copy of a Sports Physical. You MUST have an ECG and Sickle Cell Trait testing with your sports physical.
  4. You MUST complete the Liability Waiver on reverse side. If you are under 18, your parents MUST sign the form. If they are out of town, they can fax the form to the Training Room at (713) 743-0679.
  5. If you make the team, you MUST go through a physical provided by our sports medicine staff.

If you do not have this information you will NOT be allowed to participate in the tryouts.

MEDICAL DISQUALIFICATION OF THE STUDENT ATHLETE

The University of Houston Sports Medicine policy for medical disqualification of a student-athlete is as stated by the NCAA Sports Medicine Handbook, Guideline 2A, "the team physician has the final responsibility to determine when a student-athlete is removed or withheld from participation due to injury, illness, or pregnancy. In addition, clearance for the individual to return to activity is solely the responsibility of the team physician or that physician's designated representative."

SPECIAL POPULATIONS

Impaired student-athlete

Impaired, as defined by the World Health Organization, is "any loss or abnormality of psychological, physiological, or anatomical structure or function. Impaired student-athletes may include, but are not limited to 1. Those confined to a wheelchair, 2. Those who are deaf, blind, or missing a limb, 3. Those who may have behavioral, emotional, and psychological disorders that substantially limit a major life activity."

The University of Houston Sports Medicine Department adopts the Guideline 3A from the NCAA Sports Medicine Handbook which states: Medical exclusion of an impaired student-athlete should occur only when the impairment presents unusual risk of further impairment or disability to the individual and/or other participants.

In instances where there is absence of a paired organ, serious consideration must be given to the risks and benefits for the student-athlete, their parents (in case of a minor), the team physician, and the institution. Factors that must be taken into account include the following:
1. The quality and function of the remaining organ
2. The probability of injury to the remaining organ
3. The availability and function of equipment necessary to prevent injury to the remaining organ
4. Education of the student-athlete and medical staff to prevent injury to the remaining organ

The Head Team Physician shall have the final decision for or against participation of the impaired student-athlete. Upon allowing the impaired student-athlete to participate, a medical waiver/release must be signed by the student-athlete, parent/guardian, and the Head Team Physician.

Pregnant student-athlete

This policy has been developed to establish protection for the pregnant student-athlete and her unborn child. The procedures outlined in this policy will allow the student-athlete to make the best decisions concerning her pregnancy and her future as a collegiate athlete.

Procedure: The student-athlete should inform an athletic trainer at the earliest known date of her pregnancy. Although we can't require you to inform us if you become pregnant, we trust that you will do what is in your own best interest and that of your unborn child. The athletic trainer will then notify the appropriate athletic administrator and coach- followed by selected physicians and supports staff as part of a panel of pregnancy advisors. A student-athlete MUST first BE CLEARED by her own OB/GYN and by UH's team physician before she may participate in ANY athletic activity, this includes the signing of an informed consent by the two involved physicians, the student-athlete, and the UH Senior Women's Administrator. The student-athlete must also be cleared by those same physicians before returning to athletic activity, post-partum. (*Each case will be evaluated on an individual and sport basis, and treated as appropriate.)

A panel of advisors has been put together in order to provide guidance and support to the student-athlete. This panel consists of UH's team physician, senior women's administrator, sport psychologist, academic advisor, athletic trainer, and the individual's coach AND personal OB/GYN.

The NCAA Sports Medicine Handbook includes the following guidelines:

  1. The safety to participate in each sport must be dictated by the movements and physical demands required to compete in that sport. Many medical experts recommend that women avoid participating in competitive contact sports after the 14th week of pregnancy. Athletic activities associated with increased incidences of bodily contact and a high risk of falling should be avoided (ie: basketball, ice hockey, field hockey, lacrosse, soccer, rugby, and gymnastics).
  2. Women who have medical conditions that place their pregnancies at high risk for complications should avoid physical activity until consultation with their obstetrician.
  3. The student-athlete should be aware of warning signs to terminate exercise while pregnant: vaginal bleeding, shortness of breath prior to exercise, dizziness, headache, chest pain, calf pain or swelling, pre-term labor, decreased fetal movement, amniotic fluid leakage and muscle weakness.
  4. The student-athlete should be informed that NCAA rules permit a one-year extension of the five-year period of eligibility for a female student-athlete for reasons of pregnancy.

Sickle cell trait

A Sickle Cell Trait screening will be performed for all incoming student athletes as part of their pre-season physical exams. According to NCAA Guideline 3C, no unwarranted restriction or limitation should be placed on the student-athlete with sickle cell trait. However, any student-athlete known to have sickle cell trait will be advised to maintain proper hydration and avoid competing at high altitudes.

Sickle Cell trait is not a disease. It is the inheritance of one gene for normal hemoglobin (A) and one gene for sickle hemoglobin (S), Giving the genotype AS. Sickle cell trait (AS) is not sickle cell anemia (SS), in which two abnormal genes are inherited. Sickle cell anemia causes major anemia and many clinical problems, whereas sickle cell trait causes no anemia and few clinical problems. Sickle cell trait will not turn into the disease. However, it is possible to have symptoms of the disease under extreme conditions of physical stress or low oxygen levels. In some cases, athletes with the trait have expressed significant distress, collapsed and even died during rigorous exercise. It is present in athletes at all levels, including high school, collegiate, Olympic and professional. Sickle cell trait is no barrier to outstanding athletic performance.

There are three constant concerns that exist for athletes with sickle cell trait: gross hematuria, splenic infarction, and exertional rhabdomyolysis, which can be fatal. (NCAA Sports Medicine Handbook)

There are identifiable events which occur and with proper intervention by the health care team can certainly provide for safe participation

  • Exertion is of the length and intensity to drive blood oxygen levels low enough to produce sickling in the SCT patient.
  • Further exertion can lead to more ischemia and subsequent rhabdomyolosis; dumping myoglobin and potassium into the blood.
  • Lactic acidosis may occur and release potassium further impacting heart function.
  • Myoglobin may actually plug the kidneys and further the buildup of potassium.

See EAP - Sickle Cell Trait for Prevention and EA Plan

ADD/ADHD Medical Exception

The NCAA bans classes of drugs because they can harm student athletes and can create an unfair advantage in competition. Some legitimate medications contain NCAA banned substances, and student athletes may need to use these medicines to support their academics and their general health. The NCAA has a procedure to review and approve legitimate use of medications that contain NCAA banned substances through a Medical Exceptions Procedure. The diagnosis of adult ADHD remains clinically based utilizing clinical interviews, symptom-rating scales, and subjective reporting form patients and others. Enclosed you will find guidelines from the NCAA that will help institutions ensure adequate medical records are on file for student athletes diagnosed with ADHD in order to request an exception in the event a student athlete tests positive during NCAA drug testing.
(See enclosed NCAA Guidelines)

Links

ADD/ADHD Exception Notification Get Acrobat Reader

Pregnant Athlete Informed Consent Get Acrobat Reader

Sickle Cell Trait Information for Coaches Get Acrobat Reader

Sickle Cell Trait Information for Student Athletes Get Acrobat Reader

Sickle Cell Trait Notification Get Acrobat Reader

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